The StartupYard Big Book of Marketing
The StartupYard “Big Book” of Marketing
Look mom.. no marketing! That’s an idea that seems to pop up quite a bit when it comes to startups that have had some early traction. “We got 5,000 pre-orders… and we didn’t do any marketing.”
Of course that begs two questions right away. First of all: “what is marketing really?” If we define marketing as any activity that promotes a product or aims to help a product find its market fit, then a lot of things are marketing, even if we don’t call them marketing. Literally doing no marketing is very difficult if you define it that way.
Of course, we know what “no marketing” really means. No paid advertising. No organized, deliberate promotional activities. This brings us to the second question: “If you can gain traction without really trying to get your messaging right, what could you achieve if you were actually trying?”
This post is going to talk about marketing for startups. It is not a playbook, or a set of rules. More it’s a collection of principles and approaches that, in our experience, tend to work best. As any marketing professional should be able to admit: we can’t tell you what will work but we can tell you what has worked before.
Stop Screwing Up Your Messaging
Even if you’re allergic to paid advertising, having good core communication principles is an essential part of building a brand for yourself that lasts, and stands up to future challenges.
You may not run ads, senator, but you certainly talk to your customers one way or the other. Why not do it well?
I studied classical guitar when I was younger. Maybe you’ve played an instrument, or learned a trade as well. There’s an expression my teacher used to use all the time: “get the details right, and the big picture will take care of itself.”
He meant that if you try to tackle a big problem all at once, you’re likely to screw it up in any number of ways. But if you attack a series of small problems, the big problems stop being so big. Marketing for startups is a lot like this. You need to focus on the little details, and the big picture will probably turn out just fine.
Here, we have a series of posts that focuses on those little details, and how to get them just right. Whether you’re writing an email, creating a landing page, or just giving a presentation, the details matter, and can make the difference between a success and a failure.
Improve Your Marketing Skills
So maybe you know how to tell a good story, and you know how to position your startup. You’re not done. Now we get to the gritty details of how to pitch effectively. Format, speed, tone, volume. Dive into the nuances of the great pitch.
In marketing, there’s this very fine line between absolute genius, and total and utter stupidity. If you aren’t flirting with that line constantly, you’re not really doing all you can to make your company stand out from the crowd.
Here are some tips on how to ride that line without tipping over. Come a bit closer…